Stocks Plunge, But Big 3's Sales Jump

The weak May jobs report on June 1 coincided with General Motors' report the same day that its U.S. vehicle sales rose 11 percent, Ford's report of 13 percent higher sales, and Chrysler's 30 percent increase.

The weak May jobs report on June 1 coincided with General Motors' report the same day that its U.S. vehicle sales rose 11 percent, Ford's report of 13 percent higher sales, and Chrysler's 30 percent increase.

GM on June 1 reported it sold 245,256 vehicles in the Unites States in May 2012, the highest one-month total for GM since August 2009 and 11 percent above its May 2011 sales. Small and compact cars, crossovers, ful-size pickups, and SUVs all sold better than in May 2011.

Ford's report for May was equally good, and Chrysler Group LLC's reported 30 percent sales increase was even more impressive. Ford said it sold 216,267 vehicles in May 2012, 13 percent higher than a year ago, with cars up 6 percent and trucks 21 percent. Ford said it will build 690,000 vehicles in North America during the third quarter of 2012, a 5 percent increase from the comparable quarter of 2011.

Chrysler's total sales in May 2012 were 150,041 vehicles, up from 115,363 a year earlier and its highest May total since 2007. The Detroit News reported Volkswagen, Nissan, and Toyota all reported double-digit percentage gains in their May 2012 sales in the United States.

The announcements came the same day that the U.S. Department of Labor reported only 69,000 jobs were added in May 2012 and the national unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop sharply.

There was no gloom in the GM announcement, however. "GM's sales in May were the highest in almost three years and we are poised to keep delivering good news for the U.S. economy with one of the most aggressive new product offenses in our history," said Don Johnson, vice president of U.S. Sales Operations. "About 70 percent of our nameplates will be new or freshened over the course of 2012 and 2013, and that positions us very well as the industry and GM start to approach pre-recession sales levels."

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